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Construction industry calls for more support from government

Despite Chancellor George Osborne’s budget pledge to ‘get Britain building’, a survey has revealed that nearly three quarters of the UK’s construction industry feels let down by the government.

71 per cent of builders and contractors claimed they do not feel supported by Whitehall policy.

Lack of investment in the sector, coupled with low consumer confidence and the absence of positive changes in the economy were among the criticisms levelled at government by the survey respondents.

The restrictive VAT system was also cited as a major challenge, with more than 71 per cent of respondents stating they are worried about the cost of VAT on building materials. 

Keeping up to date with changing legislation was highlighted as another problem area, with 60 per cent of respondents pointing to red tape and regulatory compliance as a serious concern.

Other issues brought up by the survey include the lack of young people coming into the industry, with 68 per cent citing this as a concern, while the need to compete with less skilled or unregistered tradespeople was revealed as a worry for 66 per cent of respondents.

Small to medium sized businesses in particular reported feeling squeezed by both local and national government, with the majority claiming that government policy shows preferential treatment to larger corporations.

The survey also revealed an overwhelming lack of confidence in the banks throughout the construction industry, with more than 77 per cent claiming that they do not feel supported by the banking sector.  All sizes of business represented in the survey felt that the banks are still reluctant to lend to the industry, despite the continued success of the housebuilding sector driven by the Help to Buy scheme.

Build Show managing director Paul Godwin commented: “These results show that although the construction industry is paving the way for the UK’s economic recovery, builders and contractors feel alienated and neglected by government policy. 

“There is a golden opportunity for the government to boost the economy, but to do this it must nurture and support construction industry growth. Cutting the VAT on residential refurbishments for example, would provide a huge boost – research from the Cut the VAT Campaign has shown that this could be as much as £15 billion.

“We’ve chosen to launch the Build Show now because we feel the time is right for the construction industry to take charge of the reins again.  By the time the Build Show takes place next April there will have been no dedicated event for the contracting and building sectors for more than five years, which is why we want to provide the space for the industry to come together and move forwards.”

The Build Show will take place at the Birmingham NEC from Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 April 2015.

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